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Abteilung (abbrv. Abt.) is a German word that is often used for German or Swiss military formations and depending on its usage could mean detachment, department or battalion; it can also refer to a military division. In German, it is used both for military and civilian departments (as in "office department").
During World War II, the term Abteilung generally meant "battalion" and was used for battalion-size formations in the armoured, cavalry, reconnaissance and artillery arms of the Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS. For example, Schwere Panzerabteilung refers to German heavy tank battalions. However, when the term was used for large military formations, it generally meant "detachment". For example, Armee-Abteilung translates to "army detachment" and Korpsabteilung to "corps detachment".
- Walter Dunn, Kursk: Hitler's Gamble, 1943, 1997, p. 61.